For many, the word “organic” calls to mind local produce, farmers' markets, or green stickers. Though organic search isn’t directly related to any of these concepts, they share some similarities.
Organic food production is all about balance and interconnectedness. The careful usage of resources to produce a quality product. Organic search marketing and organic lead generation work in a similar way.
To succeed in organic search, you need to carefully examine the current ecosystem and find the best way to make your plants—your content—grow and thrive.
Consider this post Organic Search Marketing 101. We’ll cover the basics, then dive into seven tips your business needs to crush it when it comes to organic search.
Organic Search: Marketing Basics
Most marketers fall into two camps: Those who swear by organic search and those who sing the praises of paid search. Most marketers understand that the best results come from a combination of all approaches, but still, it’s worth asking: What are the pros and cons of organic vs. paid search?
Paid search is great for flexible, short-term efforts. If you want to test a landing page by driving as much traffic to the page as possible as quickly as possible, a paid search or PPC campaign might fit the bill.
Organic search, on the other hand, is the turtle of the “turtle and the hare” race. It can take months or even quarters to build up the credibility and domain authority to rank on page one of Google, but once you have content ranking there, that piece of content becomes the gift that keeps on giving. Month after month, free traffic flows to your site from the search engine. This is the best way to drive profitable, sustainable growth.
If you’re hoping to write organic content that ranks, you need to use the right tactics to create content that pleases Google and provides value to the actual human beings reading that content. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but with the tips on this list, you’ll be able to write organic content that deserves to rank!
1. Target the Right Keywords
The first step to nailing your organic search marketing efforts is to target the right keywords. But how can you find the right keywords?
Start by identifying the pillars that hold up your business. Determine four or five core topic areas may want to focus on creating content around. For example, at Lean Labs our content pillars include website design, growth marketing, and growth teams.
Related Read: How to Choose the Right Topic Clusters for Your Brand
- Search volume: How many people are searching for the keyword? Pick something with enough volume to be worth ranking on.
- Keyword difficulty: How challenging is it to rank for this keyword? Consider your domain authority. If your brand is new to content marketing and organic search, ensure you’re selecting keywords with difficulties in the 20s and 30s to give yourself the best chance.
- Keyphrase length: All the keywords right around your topics have too high of difficulty? No problem. Find keyphrases with longer tails. For example, ‘website design’ might be too challenging to rank for, but ‘best tools for designing a website’ might reach much of the same audience while still being easy enough to rank on.
- Relevance: Choose keywords that are highly relevant to your business and create a natural next step that lead into your product or service. For example, if you sell accounting software, generating hundreds of visits from the keyword “how to bake a chocolate cake” might make you feel good, but it’s unlikely that any of those visitors will become revenue-driving customers.
Remember, high search volume is not the be-all-end-all. Ultimately, it’s best to target keywords your ideal customer is searching for and that you can reasonably compete and rank for.
2. Match Search Intent
You’ve found a keyword with the perfect difficulty and volume… but your keyword research isn’t done yet. You know people are searching for the keyword you’ve found, but do you know why?
Matching search intent is vital to the success of your organic search marketing efforts. For example, if you type “top CMS platform” into Google looking for a list of solutions, are you going to click on the post titled “5 top CMS platform features for your business”?
Maybe, but probably not. You’ll probably scroll until you find a list that says “10 top CMS platforms for growing brands.” Why is that?
You came in with a commercial intent (you are close to being ready to buy—you’re looking for solutions), and the first headline I gave you is informational intent (targeting folks still firmly in the “research” stage).
To ensure you match the keyword’s search intent, open an incognito window and type in the keyword. What is currently ranking? The types of posts you see in the one, two, and three spots are the ones with the intent you should match for your post.
Thinking of trying to rework a keyword to make it fit the intent you want it to have?
Google decides the intent. We can’t change it just by willing it to be another way.
3. Refresh Old Content
There’s a saying in content marketing that you don’t want to make a content graveyard, but instead a content city. What does that mean?
A content graveyard is what happens when you continually shovel out new content, piling it on over the old, never touching older posts. If you consider your content “one-and-done,” meaning you post it once then forget about it, you’re building a content graveyard.
How can you make this into a content city? Simple: don’t just leave your old posts to rot.
Explore your past posts. Are there some older posts that performed well initially but have since dropped in traffic or now have a skyrocketing bounce rate? Make note of these posts and give them a facelift.
Conduct new research to see the competition for the older post’s keyword. Update your post to make it as competitive as possible. You might also consider updating:
- Meta description
- Broken links
- Old statistics
- Dated references
Google likes to see fresh content, so refreshing blog posts and adding value to them is a strong play when it comes to improving your search ranking.
Here’s an example of a blog post that we recently refreshed. It had been losing traffic week-over-week for a couple months. We went through and updated the copy, added new examples and images, and replaced old links. The post immediately started performing better and in about a month had returned to previous highs.
4. Remove Outdated Posts
What if you have old and outdated posts that can’t even be refreshed? Maybe you wrote a post about how to use Vine to maximum effect or discussing how to keep your business afloat during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Posts like this aren’t worth rewriting or refreshing, as you’d have to create entirely new content. Instead, simply remove outdated content from your catalog by deleting or deindexing them.
Irrelevant or hopelessly outdated content can hurt your overall standing with Google and damage your attempts to rank for other, newer keywords. Why? Because search engines don’t have unlimited crawl power.
If a search engine has to waste time crawling irrelevant content, it’ll hurt your site’s SEO efforts.
Deindexing those old posts can also help you avoid keyword cannibalization. You're stealing traffic from yourself if you go after the same keyword more than once. Instead, you can remove an outdated post and craft an entirely fresh one for that keyword.
5. Write a Killer Meta Description
Another essential tip for organic search marketing is to nail the meta description.
Your posts’ meta descriptions are vital for two reasons:
- It positions your post, hopefully creating enough intrigue to encourage a click
- It tells searchers—and Google—what your post is about
Strong meta descriptions translate to better click-through rates, which can help your post’s positioning in the SERP. Including keywords in the meta description also helps to signal to Google what your post is about and what searchers can find when they click.
6. Create Pillar Pages
We’ve talked a little about the importance of appeasing Google in the world of organic search. We’re going to talk about it more here.
Google values websites with topic clusters. Why? Because a topic cluster communicates to Google exactly what your brand and site are about. It lets the algorithm put your site into a neat box that Google can use to help searchers find you.
How can you create a pillar page? Follow this process:
- Identify topics most core to your business and create long-form posts around those central topics
- Use these posts as hubs, linking out to shorter posts on related topics
- Ensure that you regularly update your pillar pages to include new relevant links or remove irrelevant content.
Pillar pages can help Google understand the subtopics related to your site more clearly. Additionally, having a pillar page can result in lower bounce rates, as visitors are more likely to click into related posts from the original, larger post instead of leaving the site.
7. Write Valuable Content
Our last tip for organic search might seem obvious, but it’s one many brands miss out on—create valuable content!
What does this mean? Exactly what it sounds like: ensure you’re creating content that will be valuable to the reader, even if they never buy from you.
Remember: don’t create clickbait!
If your content doesn’t deliver on what the headline and meta description have promised, you won’t hold onto the visitors who click. A high click-through rate can’t save you if searchers continuously bounce quickly and return to the results page to click on something else.
Offering valuable content will help you rank higher in organic search, but there’s a bonus—it will also help build trust with your audience.
Getting the Most From Your Organic Search Marketing Efforts
These seven tips will help you create a strong organic search marketing strategy that will help you create content your target audience will find valuable. This type of content can build trust and credibility as well as bring new visitors to your website.
But ranking number one on Google is only one piece of a winning growth marketing strategy.
After all, what’s the point of bringing new visitors to your website if your site doesn’t convert those visitors into leads? And what good are new leads if you don’t have a solid pipeline in place to convert them into customers?
The secret to profitable, sustainable growth is knowing where to start, then being able to follow a proven blueprint for success. Enter: The Lean Labs Growth Playbook.
Using this free resource, you can identify your stage in your growth journey, then take the appropriate steps to accelerate, plan, and budget for organizational growth. Access our free Growth Playbook to get started today!